Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Strange Artifact: Steampunk Music - Japanese Style

Friday Night Show at The Steampunk World's Fair 2012
 I was recently honored to meet the new Steampunk Band from Japan at the Steampunk World’s Fair 2012 and to spend a bit of time getting to know them. MaRy was very attracted to my performance art troupe’s mascot Kraky, (an anatomically correct Oceanographic Society Octopus - with an eye patch no less), so he was properly introduced and then handed over to her to spend time with while we conducted the interview.   She was, of course cautioned, that this hyper intelligent, super mutated miniature air kraken had developed an inconvenient taste for canines when a Pit Bull damaged his eye recently, thus the eye patch, so to mind he didn’t reach for any passers by.   [Editor’s note:  MaRy   handled this bit of American Steampunk madness like a real trooper and simply played along perfectly with our mascot’s fictional back story]  You can find "Kraky" aka Cuthulu Von Kracken III on Facebook of course!.

Cuthulu Von Kracken III

 I started out by asking about the overall vision for their sound and how they craft the music they make.  They explained that they wanted to make music that was really different and in ways that freed them from the constraints of any one genre.  Steampunk music to them is more than a single form and seems to be a bit like DIY Steampunk design in attire, in that they draw from many sources, mostly organically created and very much hand crafted, but put them together into something new, unusual, adventurous, and emotionally powerful!

MaRy writes all the lyrics as well as singing all the vocals for Strange Artifact.  She writes songs about looking for inner strength, courage, and becoming something more than what we are.   MaRy then uses these lyrics to sing about the highs and lows of life.  She sings about all the most powerful emotions such as the sadness of loss, the heat of anger, great joy, and overcoming fear.  She even sings about the tenderness of romance. In spite of these softer sentiments in some songs, most of their music carries a very high energy at all times.

They also pointed out that the singing style is more staccato than some English styles as fully enunciating Japanese clearly in a song requires strong accentuation of consonants more than would be necessary in English.  This makes the style sound very different as well.

While these deep and powerful emotions are very evident in her singing, it is always difficult for American audiences at first to connect fully to languages unfamiliar to them.  While translations are not yet available, their band manager has mostly completed translations of 7 of their songs and is working on the hardest ones now.  Many of the lyrics are somewhat abstract and deeply emotional, so translating this art into such a very different language, while keeping the original flavor, feeling, and concept is difficult.  In order to do this properly, he is working closely with MaRy to ensure his translations are as true to the original intent of her art as possible.

130Jet composes and plays all the instrumentals on both Guitar and Bass.  He also composes, programs, and plays all keyboard and synthesized drums for their background music.   130Jet then records and masters all their music in their home studio.

130Jet learned much of his skill at music production in a commercial studio producing music and sound for commercial advertising in Japan.  He is always researching new ways to produce different approaches and sounds to support the right mood for the lyrics of  MaRy ’s different moods in her songs.  I would highly recommend checking out their music and finding out for yourself what the new sound of Japanese Steampunk Music is all about.

130Jet also makes most of the Steampunk leather work and Steampunk goods for sale that they vend at their shows.  He enjoys both designing and crafting Steampunk items for their own use and the growing Steampunk Community in Japan.

In the photo above, MaRy is wearing special designer goggles crafted by the Japanese Steampunk designer
Haruo Suekichi which are very limited edition and very hard to obtain.  She makes her own hair falls for all of her shows.   130Jet’s mom hand crafted her beautiful and high quality Kimono.  MaRy’s corset was purchased, but the gloves were made by her sister.  Both of them are wearing very detailed and fascinating tiny bottles (made by a friend) as a necklace pendant with steam punk items inside.

130Jet is wearing a heavily decorated leather harness he made.  Effectively all of the leatherwork they are using, except for one pouch made by a friend, was  130Jet’s handiwork.  His monk’s cloak is actually a real item obtained at an auction.  The mask he often wears was made by Tom Bagwell.  In other words, like most Steampunk performers, their apparel, just like their music, comes from many sources, but is largely DIY or made by those close to them.

It is worthy of note that  130Jet and MaRy are apparently quite active in the burgeoning Steampunk community that is forming in Japan and their photos figure prominently in any pictures I see of public steam punk events in Japan.  These events are still few and the community is small, but it is growing rapidly.  The pictures of such events also demonstrate a very healthy and very international alliance between ex-patriot European, Australian, and American Steampunks with Japanese Steampunks in this growing new subculture in their country.

As part of this effort, Psyche Chimere, of Psyche Corporation, who attended their concerts and became and admirer of their work was introduced to MaRy and  130Jet.  They likewise enjoyed her work, and were escorted to front row seats reserved for them at her next performance.  While this is is still very much up the air, they like one another's work enough that there are at least discussions ongoing about a possible collaboration on one or more songs at some point in the future.   This type of networking and mutual assistance between Steampunk performers is part of what the Steampunk World's Fair, and the Covenant of the Kraken exist to accommodate and support.

MaRy had asked about where to obtain a realistic plush toy octopus like Kraky at the beginning of the interview, so near the end of the interview, I phoned home to my soulmate and second in command of our own performance troupe, SS Kali’s Hourglass, to inquire about the web address for the Oceanographic Institute that sells this Octopus plush toy.  In the end, we decided to offer them the original "Kraky" instead.  As an effort to reach out a hand of friendship and assistance to our Steampunk cousins in Japan, Kraky, the internationally recognized mascot of SS. Kali’s Hourglass, and of our broader Steampunk performance art network, The Covenenant of the Kraken, was sent back with MaRy and  130Jet as a permanent Goodwill Ambassador!

Plans are underway, for Kraky to begin reporting back to America on the various exploits of Strange Artifact and on the growing steam punk Community  there in Japan as well.  Stay tuned for the further adventures of MaRy,  130Jet, and Kraky as they work together to forge new and ever stronger international alliances between the Steampunk sub-culture worldwide!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Reviewing the Steampunk Worlds Fair 2012

Even the Fair Patrons Brought Real Ingenuity to the Event This Year!
I have been attempting to put together a full on site report for the Steampunk World's Fair 2012, but realistically, this will have to be a series of articles as it is just too vast an event to cover otherwise.  The event was fun, boisterous, spontaneous, and very interactive, but it was so vast in scope, with so many interesting activities, panels, and performances going on simultaneously that half a dozen people could have gone to this entire event and rarely attended any of the same attractions.  The five stages were going almost non-stop with burlesque, comedy, and a wide assortment of bands and other types of performers.  Panels were going almost non-stop in both hotels on topics ranging from DIY workshops and readings by authors to the truth behind Lovecraftian fiction!

This Steampunk Patron is armed with a Starburner Standard model 42, "Enforcer." created by Kim Hutsell
There was even a family friendly Midway in a large courtyard by day with food, entertainment, and a few games.  At night this turned into a more adult oriented Canivale Obscura dominated by fire spinning and various types of cabaret performers.  Prof. Mark Donnely was out there the whole weekend giving fascinating instruction on many styles of combat ranging from Baritsu and stick fighting to the use of highland Claymores.  There you could get pretty good quality fast food (including veggie burgers!) and sit at tables, or even better, in the cool shade under the trees, while the outdoor entertainment continued around you.  This was one of my favorite spots and was sometimes even quiet enough to conduct interviews in that setting with lovely music in the background.

Hard working "Vamps" at the Biting Booth!!!  (No flash used because... well you know!)
The Goblin Market Friday night had such interesting aspects that I will be writing a separate article about it from an insider's perspective, but I will introduce my readers briefly to this fascinating and unique aspect of the event in this review as well.  The highlights included a “Biting Booth” in which two lovely young “Vamps” offered to bite their customers on the neck as hard or soft as they liked, for a price of course!  They alternatively offered their services wielding a riding crop instead.  Another booth offered spankings, (with hand or paddle) from two lovely young women portraying clockwork dolls!

The Spanking Booth!!!
Many other booths in the Goblin Market offered fortune telling (by someone with surprisingly uncanny ability), strange wares, demonstrations of strange science, and selling things as odd as unicorn horns or even the dreams of madmen for those who cared to partake.  A variety of performers from around the country, such as the Red Fork Emperor and Dr. Grimm, entertained, but really the highlight of the evening, for that crowd at least, was the burlesque show!  Psyche Chimere, of Psyche Corporation even made an appearance dancing beautifully on one of the tables at the back while other entertainments continued on the stage.

Psyche Chimere of Psyche Corporation dancing at the Goblin Market

I also was able to hear, meet, and interview The Clockwork Dolls, Platform One, Strange Artifact, and Frenchy and the Punk, so I am working putting together those interviews as separate articles, but that will link back to the series on the SPWF 2012.   Some of the other bands I was privileged to hear perform included the  Hellblinki Sextet, Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band, This Way to the Egress, The Extraordinary Contraptions, Victor Sierra , Voltaire, Psyche Corporation, Eli August, and Igor’s Egg, but there were many more besides.  There was simply not enough time to see and hear, much less interview them all.  I was also spending some quiet time just talking with my friends in Victor Sierra and Psyche Corporation, so I will share some of that (with their permission of course) at a later date as well.

Strange Artifact's Mary and Yuki with Kraky and Adm. Ramon at the Midway

Other aspects unique to this event included “Vendors Row” where an entire hallway of the hotel was dedicated to vendors selling a great variety of wares and supplies to make steam punk items, directly out of their hotel rooms converted into a long row of boutiques.   There were also  more typical vending areas, but there were so many small to mid sized vending rooms that I had trouble even locating all of them, much less seeing everything they had to offer.   As a writer, the most interesting for me was actually meeting the staff of Steampunk Magazine, who are now accepting submissions again and moving back into full production, but I was also able to meet writers, as well as craftsmen, vendors, and artists, from all walks and genres and spend as much time as I wished truly learning about them and their favorite forms of art.

Not only is Heather Hutsell a Steampunk author, but she makes lovely garments from recycled parachutes!

The highlight of the event was probably the performance by Voltairre Saturday night!  He was funny, dark, twisted, and incredibly entertaining.  In short, I found Voltairre to be all he was reputed to be and incredibly fun!  In fact, the band opening right before him, this way to the Egress, was pretty fun as well.  If you were in a bad mood for any reason on the way in, it was almost impossible to stay that way around so many people having so much fun, simply blowing off steam, stress, and anything other remaining inside them leaving only a sense of pure fun!

The dance after wards was just as great with surprisingly excellent dance music!  Unfortunately where I am from in the Southwest Steampunk is new enough as a full on convention that we are still needing to convince the Djs that Anime Convention dance music (mostly rave style) is simply not what our dancers want.  The dance DJ played a very interesting mix of Darkwave, New Wave Electronica, strange & fun items (like Rocky Horror and Repo), and an assortment of high quality dance items pulled from a variety of bands that are well known, but have only a few such excellent selections for dance.  In other words, we have extraordinary good DJs who really watched the crowd and responded very well to them.  The best DJs are measured by how well they do this by shifting the music to whatever keeps the crowd happy and dancing.  (as opposed to some who are too focused on showing off their latest re-mix tracks regardless of crowd reactions to them)

Aelus Kristof von Stadberg guitarist of the Extraordinary Contraptions
Overall, the event was every bit as friendly and inclusive as advertised!  People were made to feel at ease and accepted regardless of culture, appearance, gender bending, or sexual orientation.  In fact, some people paid special attention to anything unusual, but I saw only positive reactions regardless of how unusual things got even late and after many libations.  I found myself at 3 am sitting with another press rep (from MTV) explaining the Steampunk Culture, convention scene, and genre in general and having a lot of fun doing it.

Hatton Cross Steampunk's David Lee
I think the only flaw I could find (aside from last minute posting of the schedule and the sound equipment not working for one of the shows), was that the event was so vast and had so much excellent talent and fascinating things to see and people to talk to that it would have to continue non-stop for several weeks before I could be satisfied I had truly sampled most of what they had to offer.  I recommend looking at the schedule carefully before going, but not working too hard to follow whatever plan you set as rushing about too much with too rigid a schedule will cause you to miss the finest, but often unexpected flowers along the way.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

American Tea Dueling

Thanks to Bednall Photography

I was first introduced to English Tea Dueling (not to be confused with American Tea Dueling-you know how us penal colony types like to create anarchy and all! lol) by some new friends of mine, the members of the band BB Blackdog.  they explaiend the practice and demonstrated, taught, and refereed a competition at the new Texas Steampunk and paranormal convention (put on by the Steampunk Illumination Society) called The Nightmare Machine.  At our competition, to see who could keep a stiff upper lip the best, a young slip of a girl, Autumn Moran (about 11 years old) defeated one of the biggest and burliest men in the organization, thus proving this is indeed a way to demonstrate courage and steadiness of nerve and hand rather than brawn.

Here is an article by Americans that explains the American version via that excellent new periodical
The Steampunk Chronicle:

A brief Introduction to American Tea Dueling

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

75th Anniversary of the Hindenburg Disaster

  75th Anniversary of the Hindenburg Disaster:  A very interesting an insightful article by a good friend of mine and an excellent writer Larry Amyett, details the events leading up to this event and the impact on the Diesel Era around the globe!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Kraky the Air Kraken Goes to Japan as Goodwill Ambassador!

Mary and 130JET for the Japanese Steampunk band Strange Artifact with Adm. Ramon and Kraky
Kraky, the super mutated, hyperintelligent, telepathic air kraken from the Steam Sail Ship Kali's Hourglass will be traveling to Japan to live with the Steampunk Band, Strange Artifact.  Kraky will live and work there as the new "Goodwill Ambassador" to the new Steampunk community  forming just now in that wondrous country!

When Mary, the singer and songwriter for Strange Artifact, saw Kraky, it was love at first sight!  Well ... she thought he was incredibly cute anyway and held him throughout the interview while Adm. Ramon Leon del Mar explored with them the crafting of their music, their lyrics, and even their steampunk leather goods and garments.  Mary asked if it would be possible to find another miniature super mutated air kraken like Kraky, so the Admiral used his magical telepathic fairy box to contact Vice Adm. Narasimhan.   She said she would contact the Time Travel Police, who had specially mutated this form of air kraken as special undercover spies, saboteurs, and telepathic interrogators.   

While the Time Travel Police agreed to provide another such mutated Air Kraken for the steampunk community in Japan, there would be a small delay while they calibrated the time vortex to get back to our current century and ship one out to our planet.  Unfortunately Strange Artifact would be back in Japan by then.

Naturally showing up yesterday instead of tomorrow was no problem for the Time Travel Police (confused yet?) , but in the end, it seems Kraky had developed a fondness for Mary's highly creative mind and offered to go himself to help support the efforts in Japan to build a Steampunk Community in their homeland.  Kraky said he will find a way to report back to us on their progress, as well as the escapades of the sensational new Steampunk band Strange Artifact, as he travels with them on the road in Japan!

League of Steam-Gnome Attack!

Once again, another bit of excellent Steampunk Drama, theater, and humor all rolled into one from the twisted minds of the League of Steam!!!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Birth of Steampunk Conventions In the Southwest

Steve Liptak Steampunk Inventor

Steampunk as a specific type of event, much less a full convention, was a novel concept until quite recently.  Now they have exploded in the Southwest into the largest and fastest shift in convention fandom, well ... possibly ever.  There were a few smaller one evening steampunk events in the past at local nightclubs, but the first large specifically steampunk event in the South Central US appears to have been The Green Steam Circus (May 15th 2010). It had musical performances by local Texas steampunk/dieselpunk band “White Ghost Shivers”, the world renowned steampunk band “Abney Park”, and assorted other bands played there. The “circus” part related to several acts such as balancing, juggling, blockhead, and self piercing acts, as well as burlesque, and an assortment of other forms of entertainment as well as vendors. It’s downfall was that it was poorly advertised. They wanted to be “green” by not printing any flyers or paper ads and relying on internet and word of mouth only which did not work well for a new event. It was also set in an outdoor venue on a weekend that had heavy rain predicted so attendance was poor in spite of an excellent event!

There have already been nine brand new all steampunk events start up in the last year, and will be three more new ones next year. Clockwork Wonderland, an all Steampunk one evening event presented by the popular Dielpunk/Steampunk Band Marquis of Vaudville started off an incredible explosion of all Steampunk events in 2011 (January 21). It was followed by Wild Wild West Con in Arizona (March 4-6, 2011). Next came Oklahoma Steampunk Expo, the first full 3 day Steampunk Convention in the South Central Area (OK city April 15th-17th 2011). Aetherfest in San Antonio in early May was the first 3 day steampunk event in Texas. After that came the Difference Engine Summer one day event on June 4th in Fort Worth. Smaller evening only events included Firewater (July 19th) in Dallas, the Autumnal Equinox Masquerade Ball (Oct 1st) in Dallas, and several other smaller events in Central and South Texas Cities in 2011.

2012 has brought in 3 new all Steampunk conventions and promises at least 2 more. It started out with the Difference Engine Convention and New Year’s Eve Ball on New Year’s Eve. It was followed 3 weeks later by another new 3 day, all steampunk convention called Clockwork Con. Even that was followed a week later by another Marquis of Vaudville event in Dallas called Gadgets and Gobstoppers which reportedly sold out a large live show venue with capacity of 800. Twisted Gears also just presented the first steampunk convention for Houston on February 25, 2012.

The Nightmare Machine, a paranormal themed steampunk event, debuted in Jefferson, Texas on March 30th, 2012. Jefferson, Texas really is on the list of most desirable locales for those serious about the study of ghosts and paranormal events making this a history making shift in convention fandom focus for this genre. The event is hosted by the Steampunk Illumination Society and will be located near the intersection of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas; bringing in steampunks from all four states.
Finally there is one new event scheduled in October in Oklahoma city under the overtly steamy, but hard to pronounce name of Octopodicon. After that the cycle will repeat it seems, at least with the events that survive this difficult economy and extremely full convention schedule for this part of the country.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Intersection of Steampunk Culture With LGBTQ

  An interesting and unusual article was posted in Steampunk Magazine about items of interest at the upcoming Steampunk World's Fair that involve the intersection of Steampunk Culture with the LGBTQ communities.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Steampunk World's Fair Scheduled Indoctrinations!!!

Psyche Chimere of Psyche Corporation

Join us at the Steampunk World's Fair. Scheduled Indoctrinations ... er uh ... I mean the performances will be at the Radisson Main Stage on Saturday at 12:45 pm and again on Sunday at 1:05 pm!

Admiral Ramon Leon del Mar will be putting in a Guest Cosplay Performance at the VIP Meet and Greet as himself, a Steampunk Time Traveling Pirate telling tall tales, but in a rather "Undead" format this time. He is, after all, going in to run security screening of the area in advance of a Royal Appearance of the Shadow Queen herself, for whom he now works as Chief of Security, among other things, and there are nasty rumors about a legion of undead wandering through the Fair or some such thing. As such, he didn't think he needed to hide the fangs, so to speak, on this trip.

Gatehouse Gazette Resurfaces via Doc Fatastique's

The Gatehouse Gazette, an online and print version magazine, presented a great variety of writers and information about Dieselpunk and Steampunk culture during it’s most critical growth and expansion into modern awareness.  In fact, they helped organize and promote the “Great Steampunk debate” in the Spring of 2010 that helped define the subculture as well as setting standards for more than one mainline approach to Dieselpunk. The two main streams of Dieselpunk are now often referred to by terms referencing the name of the Chief Editor of the Gazette, Nick Ottens,  and to the name of another prime contributor to his magazine who writes under the nom de plume of “Piecraft”.

When Steampunk Magazine began promoting socially activist agendas, The Gatehouse Gazette also came into being (July 2008) as both an activist and a devil’s advocate counterpoint contributor to every debate of interest to the “Punk” Genres.   They even went so far as to present an entire issue of the magazine focused on promoting the benefits and contributions of the factory and industrialization of society, which are sometimes strongly supported themes in some forms of Dieselpunk.

Later, when Beyond Victoriana, promoted a very hard line approach to political correctness and post colonial emphasis on race, culture, and cultural sensitivity toward “people of color”, The Gatehouse Gazette would publish a variety of articles showing counterpoint and alternative views to their presentation of these issues in a very bold and often very controversial manner.
In the final issue of the print version of the magazine (Nov 2011) the Gazette challenged Steampunks worldwide to set aside hypocrisy and acknowledge that many of them really love the pomp, ceremony, culture, and glamour of the Victorian Imperialists.  This, unfortunately, also came with the announcement that it was the end of the print and downloadable full magazine.  The blog section also greatly reduced operations at that time.

While this particular writer is not one of the Steampunks that is strongly attached to “Dreams of Empire”, (in fact my Steampunk persona and all my backstory fiction focus on effective rebellion against empire and giving various imperialists a black eye) as a Steampunk Lifestyler, I support the Gatehouse Gazette’s very “punk” efforts to bring an honest view and discussion to the table about any and all issues.  I also believe that we cannot move forward effectively in mutual education between cultures without fully understanding this part of the Steampunk subculture’s landscape.  As such I thank Nick Ottens for his courage in presenting all sides of issues to the community.

Apparently sometime in March 2012 a few articles surfaced followed by several more that came out in April with an interview and an album review for the new Steampunk Band from Japan, Strange Artifact.  Other articles of interest include a review of Iron Sky (a campy Steampunk Movie about Steampunk German Imperialists hiding on the moon and launching a much later counterattack) as well as info on the new all European Steampunk convention.

Here’s a few words from the Editor, Nick Ottens (in response to my recent inquiries) about the new format:

"I don’t expect the magazine to return any time soon. I just don’t have the time to edit. So we will continue as a blog, with a combination of magazine-like content and more typical, shorter blog posts. 

Hilde and Marcus are the most active contributors. I don't have much time to write myself but certainly welcome submissions from old magazine contributors like yourself."

For more information about the history and contributions to our Dieselpunk and Steampunk Communities take a look at the brief history of the magazine written by Nick Ottens himself:

Also take a look at their site where you can see new blog articles every week as well as access back issues of the magazine:

Source article by Ramon Leon del Mar at: http://doctorfantastiques.com (http://s.tt/1bcUt)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Stranger Than Fiction - Tanks Beyond Belief!

I ran across this series of articles that brought forward real historical items and designs that are a Clockpunk, Steampunk, or even Dieselpunk's wet dream as a centerpiece for fiction, but were in fact, real designs and sometimes actually became a life sized monster of war for real combat, though not so many ever actually made it to the battlefields.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Southern Boom in Steampunk!

Admiral Radha Narasimhan and Commodore Charles Babbage 
at "The Difference Engine" in Fort Worth, Texas
There is a big change in the convention scene that is happening gradually in the North, the East, and the West, but has exploded seemingly overnight in the South and Southwest just this year.  This is something called “Steampunk“, a blending of science fiction and old world charm, elegance, and adventure from the 19th century.  In the past, Steampunk events have generally been a minor attraction at anime conventions, at least down in the south, but that is all changing now.

In the last 12 months 12 different new and all Steampunk events have been announced, and most have already occurred, in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arizona. Why is this important you may ask? Simply because the incredible growth of "Steampunk" conventions in the US and especially the south is the fastest and most pervasive change in convention fandom I have ever seen.  This change in the landscape needs to be studied and understood.  We should try to understand why is it happening and where is it going.  It is especially surprising during such an economic downturn when all conventions are already struggling for attendance!

Some of the biggest obstacles they face are communicating with one another and avoiding scheduling too close to other events (especially megalithic anime conventions like A-kon).  Most of them also face the banes of any first time con in that they have little money, little public awareness of their existence, and little experience in running a convention.  We will just have to wait and see which events will grow and which will survive.  In any case, it's pretty certain, the convention scene will change and evolve, as it always has, though this has certainly been the biggest surge of changes I am aware of in any single year.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Steampunk World's Fair Final Press Release 2012

Psyche Corporation - Sat 12:45 pm and Sun 12:30 pm Radisson Main Stage

For Immediate Release  (by staff writer)

2012 Steampunk World’s Fair to provide more fun for attendees than any other Steampunk event in the world

Your adventure begins on May 18.  Your objective: to cram as much merriment into one weekend as possible.  You arrive at the 2012 Steampunk World’s Fair and are instantly thrust into a festival abundant with entertainers and members of “the friendliest subculture”.  A delightful chap in a top hat greets you while accordion music can be heard in the distance.  No longer tentative you join the joyful congregation.  Come Sunday victory is yours.

Steampunk is widely known as the “friendliest subculture” where all are invited to participate and exercise their imaginations.  Appropriately the main goal of the 2012 Steampunk World’s Fair is to incorporate this value into the festival itself to provide the most fun for all.  Ergo the label of “convention” has been released and replaced with “festival”.

The co-creator and chief organizer of Steampunk World’s Fair, Jeff Mach, is the driving force behind this “fun” initiative, “We chose to identify Steampunk World’s Fair as a festival for 2012 because this year is well…more festive!” says Mach.  “This year we have made it our priority to provide more fun and entertainment for steampunks and steam-families than any other steampunk event in the world.”  With the extensive lists of performers, guests, and attendees, this year will certainly be a joyous occasion for all.
Steampunk World’s Fair will run May 18-20 in Piscataway, NJ.  Tickets and VIP passes are on sale now; get yours before they sell out!

About Steampunk

Steampunk is a subculture whose members celebrate the beauty of yesterday alongside the technology of tomorrow.  Fanciful Victorian aesthetics blend seamlessly with ray guns and time machines to create a world where anything is possible.  There are no rules, just your imagination, and all are welcome on this great adventure.

About Steampunk World’s Fair

Steampunk World’s Fair, currently in its third year, is the largest Steampunk event in the world hosting thousands of attendees, guests, and performers annually.  This year will include new, fully immersive and interactive events to stir the imagination.  The festival will run May 18-20 in Piscataway, NJ.

Learn more at www.steampunkworldsfair.com.

Friday, May 4, 2012

New Steampunk Conventions Premiering in the Southwest

10 February 2012 No Comment by
Alex Whisenhunt Organizer and Director of Clockwork Con

Steampunk Conventions are now everywhere you turn in Texas and Oklahoma. As such, I have listed the larger ones we are expecting or have recently occurred, but we know that several one day or single evening events are springing up that are not yet clear about details.

Twisted Gears

  • When:

    February 25, 2012
  • Where:

    Houston, Texas
  • What:

    Steampunk convention -one day – showcasing local Houston talent including Victorian fighting styles.

The Nightmare Machine

  • When:

    March 2012, but may be a one time event as not certainty if will be funded sufficiently to bring it back.  It did spawn a huge Steampunk Organization in that same area, however, who are already planning a Steampunk Christmas in Jefferson later this year.
  • Where:

    Jefferson, Texas
  • What:

    Paranormal themed three day Steampunk convention. Jefferson, Texas really is on the list of most desirable locales for those serious about the study of ghosts and paranormal events. The event is hosted by the Steampunk Illumination Society and will be located near the intersection of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas; bringing in steampunks from all four states.


  • When:

    May 4 – 6, 2012
  • Where:

    San Antonio, Texas
  • What:

    Steampunk convention – three day event with steampunk LARP.

Difference Engine

  • When:

    Summer event date TBD - July or Aug, 2012
  • Where:

    Fort Worth, Texas
  • What:

    Steampunk convention -one day – showcasing local Texas talent including emphasis on performing arts.


  • When:

    October 5 – 7, 2012
  • Where:

    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • What:

    Steampunk convention three day event.

Difference Engine

  • When:

    New Years Eve, 2012-2013
  • Where:

    Fort Worth, Texas
  • What:

    Steampunk convention -one day – showcasing local Texas talent including emphasis on performing arts and followed by a Steampunk New Year’s Eve Ball

Clockwork Con

  • When:

    One time only, apparently, in January 2012.  It does not appear there are plans to bring it back at this time, but that could always change.
  • Where:

    Austin, Texas
  • What:

    Steampunk convention, three day, with Panel education emphasis and Burlesque, comedy, and concerts in the evenings. Also a heavy emphasis on the new Steampunk role Playing Game Tephra at this convention.

Marquis of Vaudville Annual Steampunk Event

  • When:

    TBD, but probably Janurary or Febuary 2013
  • Where:

    Dallas, Texas
  • What:

    Marquis of Vaudville always hosts a big one evening, Steampunk music, burlesque, and circus freak show evening once per year around January, but that has just finished this year with Gadgets and Gobstoppers, and the next year’s date is not yet set.

Oklahoma Steampunk Expo

  • When:

    TBD, but probably April 2013
  • Where:

    Oklahoma city, Oklahoma
  • What:

    Steampunk convention, three day

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Dark Victorian -a review via Steampunk Canada

Steampunk Canada's online magazine has a very interesting review of an new gas-lamp novel.  It is certainly an unusual and somewhat creepy sounding novel.  Take a look!

Pencil drawing from "The Dark Victorian"

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Steampunk Type Inventions in Cracked Magazine???

OK. so this looks like a total farce, but believe it or not, the article has some really interesting information, while making fun of everythign of course, about great inventors that created a workign prototype that was very futuristic, during ...you guessed it...The Victorian Era, or shortly thereafter.

Cracked Magazine Does Steampunk...Well Inventions Anyway